Mitt Romney: Running to Stand Still

The weak field of GOP candidates is still on track to produce an Iowa winner with the lowest vote share of any winning candidate from either major party in the history of the caucuses. Historical comparisons of Iowa performance are even more unflattering if they are made specifically about Governor Romney.

In 2008, Romney secured 25.2% of the votes in the GOP Iowa Caucuses. He has been running hard for the intervening four years, spending tens of millions of dollars, giving hundreds of speeches and interviews and logging thousands of hours of retail campaigning. The result? The proportion of Iowa caucus-goers who support him today is even lower than it was in 2008.

In trying to explain why, against all evidence, some GOP players keep talking up the possibility of a “savior” candidate entering the race after Iowa, most people have focused on conservative fears that Romney is a closet moderate. But the smartest people in the GOP must surely also be worried for a more prosaic reason: No matter what Romney says (and clearly he will say anything), no matter how much he spends, no matter how hard he campaigns and no matter how many press-the-flesh events he holds, he just can’t get many voters to like him. If Romney were my horse in a race against a politician as skilled as Barack Obama, I’d be fantasizing about a deus ex machina candidate too.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

4 thoughts on “Mitt Romney: Running to Stand Still”

  1. Given how the GOP is now the Party of Rush Limbaugh, any hope of a dark horse candidate being a savior is forlorn.

  2. Romney presidential campaigns have generated more jobs than either his stint as a Bain Capital executive or his involvement in the Utah Olympic Games or his gubernatorial days in Massachusetts. In fact, if Romney is earnest about job creation, he should keep losing the elections and run again every four years.

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